NORTH BEND — Finding and securing long-term revenue sources and determining the future of the city’s pool were among the highest-rated priorities of the North Bend City Council during a goal-setting session this week.
The goal of the session was for the council to set priorities for the city staff to work toward over the next two years.
Over the span of three hours Tuesday, with a break in the middle for an inauguration ceremony, the council and city department heads suggested what they considered their top policy priorities. At the end of the meeting, they used stickers to signify the areas they considered the most important.
North Bend City Manager David Milliron told the council the goals should follow the SMART concept (strategic, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound).
The city staff will compile all the suggestions from Tuesday’s goal-setting session and bring them back to the council to discuss further and formally rank, into top-tier and next-tier levels.
“The job of the staff is to work on a plan to implement those goals,” Milliron said.
In addition to determining long-term sustainability for the city and planning the future of the pool, which begins with a worksession Monday, another top goal was reviewing and revising the mission statement as part of a new city branding campaign.
Other top suggestions were evaluating the city services for efficient and effective city government and gaining certified local government status.
Several of the goals suggested by council and staff fit under other, bigger goals.
For example, Parks Director Bryan Owen first suggested working on a parks master plan for the next 20 years, since the most recent 20-year plan expired in 2020. Several of his other suggestions fall under that umbrella, including completing Simpson Park with more parking, a shelter and a restroom; replacing the playground equipment at Ferry Road Park; creating a better “welcome to North Bend” element for the south entrance to downtown on U.S. Highway 101; and figuring out what the future should be for Airport Heights Park.
Several revolved around funding for the city in general or specific departments.
Public Works Director Ralph Dunham suggested the city needs to develop a funding source for both street maintenance and wastewater because the city is going in the hole in both areas.
Police Chief Robert Kappelman mentioned the importance of determining what level of police service the city should provide and how to sustainably fund that level.
Long-range planning was a common theme, including suggestions to renovate and expand the library, continue the long-term fire equipment replacement plan and create a city-wide capital improvement plan.
Other ideas were possible cost savings, including streamlining online options to reduce paper usage, outsourcing the city’s payroll operations and moving the permitting process to an electronic system.
And others related to community engagement.
“I would like to see us connect with our businesses,” Councilor Timm Slater said, suggesting the city meet with business owners, find out their needs and figure out how to facilitate meeting them.
Mayor Jessica Engelke suggested reestablishing the North Bend Downtown Association.
Council Member Eric Gleason suggested working with other local agencies on emergency preparedness in case of a major earthquake.
City Councilor Bill Richardson suggested the city revisit the July Jubilee program to freshen it up.
“We need to reinvent it for the current times and looking into the future,” he said. “We need to figure out some way to grow it.”